FAST '03 Abstract
Semantically-Smart Disk Systems
Muthian Sivathanu, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Florentina I. Popovici, Timothy E. Denehy, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, and Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau, University of Wisconsin, Madison
We propose and evaluate the concept of a semantically-smart
disk system (SDS). As opposed to a traditional "smart" disk, an
SDS has detailed knowledge of how the file system above is using the disk system, including information about the on-disk data
structures of the file system. An SDS exploits this knowledge to
transparently improve performance or enhance functionality beneath a standard block read/write interface. To automatically
acquire this knowledge, we introduce a tool (EOF) that can discover file-system structure for certain types of file systems, and
then show how an SDS can exploit this knowledge on-line to
understand file-system behavior. We quantify the space and time
overheads that are common in an SDS, showing that they are not
excessive. We then study the issues surrounding SDS construction by designing and implementing a number of prototypes as
case studies; each case study exploits knowledge of some aspect
of the file system to implement powerful functionality beneath
the standard SCSI interface. Overall, we find that a surprising
amount of functionality can be embedded within an SDS, hinting
at a future where disk manufacturers can compete on enhanced
functionality and not simply cost-per-byte and performance.
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